by carl wilson

Midnight is another Jail Guitar


If, like me till today, you haven't made your way to Brian Wilson's website to hear his new song Midnight Is Another Day, part of his forthcoming collaboration with Smile partner Van Dyke Parks, That Lucky Old Sun (A Narrative), get your mouse off its ass and motorvate. It's a glory. As always these days, Brian's vocals are a bit of a sticky gate to pass, though his worn-down tone is moving in itself; but by the end of a listen, I only wanted to hear it again. And again.

In the newspaper this weekend, my colleague Elizabeth Renzetti had a good column on the Jail Guitar Doors program in the UK, named for the Clash song and fronted by our beloved Billy Bragg - the idea is to get instruments to prisoners, as a humanitarian and rehabilitative aid. As Liz tells it in the piece (in case you can't get to it in the Globe's paid content section, like maybe because you're in prison or something): "When Malcolm Dudley of the rehabilitation-through-music group Changing Tunes wrote to enlist Bragg's help, he mentioned that the inmates he worked with at Guys Marsh prison in Dorset had precisely two guitars: one belonging to the warden and one to the vicar. They both went home at night. He also cited a statistic: Almost two-third of inmates reoffend, but among those who had been through Changing Tunes, which teaches everything from composition to recording skills, the figure is between 10 and 15 per cent. That number caught Bragg's attention. 'It's not that I don't believe in prison,' he says. 'I do believe people should go to prison for their crimes. I just don't think we should throw away the key. I want them to come back to society.' "

The mechanism is simple enough: They hold a fundraising concert, use the cash to buy guitars, bring them to the jails and help those caged birds sing. (Sorry.) Last weekend a Washington, DC, group put on the first non-UK Jail Guitar Doors show: "It's something any musicians can do, raise some money to buy guitars," Bragg says. "It's just an idea. But it's a good idea."

A good idea that maybe some local "any musicians" might pick up (in Ontario or wheresoever "local" for you might be).

PS I am digging on the new Weakerthans album, Reunion Tour, coming out in a few weeks. More on that soon.

General | Posted by zoilus on Sunday, August 26 at 10:49 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (0)




Zoilus by Carl Wilson